A day in the life of a marine risk consultant

I grew up in Chicago, on the shores of majestic Lake Michigan. The city is one of North America’s most historic transportation hubs, an intermodal port with strategic links to the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, and the American rail system. I don’t come from a maritime background, but my parents owned a trucking company with a fleet of 20 vehicles and a crew of drivers. Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by logistics and how goods are transported around the world.

After high school, I followed that interest to the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York to study logistics and intermodal transportation. As students, we had the opportunity to work as deck cadets, spending the equivalent of a year at sea on container ships, supply vessels and freighters. I sailed to Spain, Morocco, US West Coast, Hawaii and the Suez Canal. Sometimes I acted as a deck officer, steering the ship and navigating the waterways, or I might be on lookout or in charge of supervising the movement of cargo. Once I was on the bow of a ship when it hit a dock in Morocco, coming too fast to port. There were no injuries but the ship spent 30 days in port for repairs.

Needless to say, these early experiences sharpened my problem-solving and time-management skills. I then joined the United States Coast Guard as a Marine Inspector in Corpus Christi, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico, where I learned the ropes of ship inspection on barges, small passenger ships and ferries, as well as cargo ships and tankers. Navigating the world of compliance gives you a 360 degree view of the maritime industry and all its protocols. Inspectors must ensure that relevant treaties, rules and regulations are adhered to in areas such as construction, stability, operations, staffing, safety and security.

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